Game 40, Athletics at Mariners

marc w · May 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Chase de Jong vs. Andrew Triggs, 7:10pm

As we approach the quarter mark on the season, the M’s playoff odds rest between 15% (Fangraphs) and 25% (BP). That sounds more optimistic than it should, considering the glut of teams in their way. Click to Fangraphs Wildcard Odds graphs, and…the M’s don’t appear, as there are six teams with better chances. There are a number of reasons for this state of affairs, from the horror-movie like injury rate amongst pitchers to the fact that Baltimore/New York and especially Houston have already booked a ton of wins. It looks bleak, friends. And yet the news that Mitch Haniger is nearing his return and was doing agility and sprint drills in the OF today has me feeling, well, no, not optimistic (that would be weird and off-brand), but something like curious. For a long, long time, we’ve seen a train wreck approaching. The M’s had guaranteed hundreds of millions to their aging core plus Kyle Seager, and struggled to find anything like a competent supporting cast. Their window to contend seemed – seems – to be closing pretty soon, and if they *really* fall out of this, there’s not much they can DO. They can’t sell high on Nelson Cruz, because his surplus value and age mean he’s not going to command the kind of prospect haul that other teams, even those selling baseball players who aren’t as good, netted in return. They closed the book on selling Felix in a rebuild when they signed him to a market value contract (and once again: I’m really glad they did), and then injuries came along and burned the book. You get the argument here.

Without a big-time trade, the M’s would have to either land a Kris Bryant-type in the draft, which hasn’t happened to date, *and* find young, could-be-superstars some other way. International free agency worked for the M’s a long time ago (when they found Felix, for example), but Jerry Dipoto hasn’t seemed all that interested in that realm, so you’re down to the draft (and the non-rebuilding M’s aren’t going to have #1-#3 picks) or comparatively minor trades. If Jean Segura keeps this up, and if Mitch Haniger is anywhere close to as good as he’s shown, they may have done so. I don’t want to sugarcoat this: Segura’s a free agent soon, and Haniger’s been amazing at the big league level for something like 72 hours. But those two plus Gamel start to look intriguing, and cost the M’s a few seasons of an enigmatic starter and the desiccated husk of Dustin Ackley. Baseball is strange.

Wanted to follow up a bit on my musings about the rise in home runs and fly balls a bit. Travis Sawchick quoted the piece in a typically great article at Fangraphs, and today Russell Carleton shows some intriguing data over at BP. It’s a fascinating topic, and I’m especially interested in Carleton’s graphs showing the percentage of HRs that have come against fastballs in recent times. Are batters simply better at hitting fastballs now? Are they simply looking for fastballs and just about ignoring everything else? That’s one of the reasons Carleton links the surge in HRs to the ever-growing strikeout rate. If true, we should see a drop in batting average, and we do, somewhat. We should also see some effect from the fact that fastball usage is declining, though, and I’m not sure we do.

1: Segura, SS
2: Gamel, RF
3: Cruz, DH
4: Seager, 3B
5: Valencia, 1B
6: Motter, 2B
7: Heredia, LF
8: Dyson, CF
9: Ruiz, C
SP: de Jong

Robinson Cano was supposed to start yesterday, but was pulled back, and may miss another few days. It’s not another DL trip, but it’s still frustrating. [Edit] Ha ha ha ha…not another DL trip, says the guy who’s learned enough this season to avoid tempting fate. Actually, Cano HAS JUST BEEN PLACED ON THE DL thanks to his hurting quad. The M’s have recalled Boog Powell. We need to bring back code words for players, though of course, that wasn’t enough to save Chris Snelling all those years ago.

The M’s bullpen nearly blew another lead last night, and we’ll probably see some changes at the ends of games. Edwin Diaz’s struggles this year have been immensely frustrating, as his command seems to come and go (and mostly go). Getting him right again is crucial for this team, which honestly hasn’t had a tremendous amount of success with pitchers at the big league level recently (with the possible exception of Yovani Gallardo).

Gallardo’s fastball command wasn’t great last night, and he gave up a loooong HR on one, but it still enabled him to work out of trouble and log another quality start.

Tacoma’s in Omaha to start a series with the Stormchasers tonight. Chris Heston takes the ball for the Rainiers.

Arkansas gave up 3 in the first to NW Arkansas and couldn’t overcome it, dropping a 6-2 decision in the end. Lindsey Caughel went 7, and then Thyago Vieira had another ugly outing in relief; there’ve been a number of disappointing performances in the early going this year, but Vieira’s stands out given his light-speed improvements last year. Max Povse starts for the Travelers tonight.

Modesto beat Cal Quantrill and Lake Elsinore 4-3, with Reggie McClain getting his 5th win and dropping his ERA to 2.59. He’s struck out 17 and walked 1 in his last 3 starts, covering 19 innings. Braden Bishop and Chris Mariscal were both on base 3 times from the 1-2 spots (respectively) in the line-up. No word on tonight’s starter.

Clinton dominated Wisconsin, winning 10-3, as Tim Viehoff started the game with 7 consecutive K’s. He finished the game with..uh, just those 7 Ks in 5 innings. Joe Rizzo had a double and 3 RBIs and Anthony Jimenez had 3 hits for the Lumberkings. The TimberRattlers looked for revenge today, but found an even worse beating, as Clinton won 15-3. 2 Lumberkings had 4 hits each, but the star of the game was clearly Gareth Morgan, who homered twice. The K rate is still nauseating, and he’s not walking quite enough, but he’s somehow upped his slash line to .299/.361/.486, which is very good for the Midwest League. He’s definitely a most improved player candidate.


14 Responses to “Game 40, Athletics at Mariners”

  1. Sowulo on May 16th, 2017 6:06 pm

    I think Diaz’ biggest problem is sitting on the bench too much. Seeing one or two innings per week is not enough to keep him sharp.

  2. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 6:30 pm

    Marc, given your anti-predictive powers – perhaps you should write things like “the entire roster was put on the 60-day DL today”…

  3. Sowulo on May 16th, 2017 6:55 pm

    But they already did that didn’t they? Marc would only be reporting old news.

  4. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 9:29 pm

    YES!! Nice to see the other guys screw up for once…

  5. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 9:35 pm

    I like that Jean Segura.

  6. WTF_Ms on May 16th, 2017 9:35 pm

    He’s one of the bright spots, but got caught watching the game! At least he got the call on the replay!

  7. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 9:52 pm

    Yeah! Sea-boss!

  8. WTF_Ms on May 16th, 2017 9:58 pm

    I think Edgar was reading my post yesterday about sitting down with Seager. Maybe not, but it seems to have worked either way!

  9. WTF_Ms on May 16th, 2017 10:04 pm

    Now Cishek is giving up runs….way to spoil Seager’s “resurgence”.

  10. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 10:07 pm

    Again – why can’t we have good pitching on those days when our offense actually does something?

  11. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 10:18 pm

    Come on, Scrabble!

    … That is NOT what I meant.

  12. Westside guy on May 16th, 2017 10:21 pm

    Okay, I can’t take this. Good night folks (if anybody is still here).

  13. jorax on May 16th, 2017 11:15 pm

    It is oddly comforting to see you guys posting regularly, so I know I’m not alone in my misery. Things can only get better, right? My wife continues to not understand why I bother following this team after years of disappointment, yet here I am yet again…

  14. Grayfox3d on May 17th, 2017 1:42 am

    Glad I did not watch this bag of crap game… nice job Cishek! glad to see you on top of your game.

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